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Surface Pro 3: Can it replace your existing laptop?

After Microsoft recorded a total cost of $900 million in unsold inventory, the software multinational company may have finally got things right with its flagship tablet: the Surface Pro 3. Combining portability and performance, the Surface Pro 3 is a killer tablet, but will the product be able to spark a trend that will force laptops to be replaced with such tablets. Let’s us find out in our review.

Technical specifications

Currently, the Surface Pro 3 is being shipped with the following variants:

Processor

(2 cores in each model)

Processor model Processor clock frequency (GHz) Memory (GB) Storage (GB) Graphics (Intel HD Graphics) Price (USD)
Intel Core i3 i3-4020Y 1.50 4 64 4200 799.00
Intel Core i5 i5-4300U 1.60 (Turbo Boost 2.9 GHz) 4 128 4400 999.00
Intel Core i5 i5-4300U 1.60 (Turbo Boost 2.9 GHz) 8 256 4400 1,299.00
Intel Core i7 i7-4650U 1.70 (Turbo Boost 3.3 GHz) 8 256 5000 1,549.00
Intel Core i7 i7-4650U 1.70 (Turbo Boost 3.3 GHz) 8 512 5000 1,949.00

 

Even though the starting price of the cheapest Surface Pro 3 tablet will be a far too steep for a regular consumer, there are several perks of saving up cash right now. These perks have been detailed below.

1. The Surface Pro 3 uses a laptop processor than a regular mobile SoC

Possibly the biggest distinction between the Surface Pro 3 tablets and the remaining ones happen to be the difference in processors that these tablets possess. Sure, we will not deny the fact that tablet chipsets have come a long way to provide users with unmatched multitasking capabilities and energy efficiency but simply stated; Intel still happens to be ahead of the curve when it comes to sheer performance and energy efficiency. What is even more helpful for the Surface Pro 3 tablet users is that these processors aren’t just any processors. These processors belong to Intel’s 4th Generation line-up of processors (codenamed Haswell). Providing unmatched performance and battery life when needed, these processors will make short work of even the most powerful SoCs out there (which include Qualcomm’s Snapdragon and Nvidia’s Tegra K1 chipsets to name a few).

2. Extrapolated screen size

Another way the Surface Pro 3 tablet can assist to replace your existing laptop is by the extrapolated screen size. The previous Surface Pro tablet was shipped with a 10.6 inch screen size and Microsoft decided that if it was going to deliver a laptop replacement product to the technological masses, they have to do it right this time. All the models of the Surface Pro 3 tablet possess a screen size of 12 inches. Now, majority of laptops being shipped at this time have a screen size of 15.6 inches, but just because you shed away 3.6 inches from the Surface Pro 3 does not make the device any less as a laptop replacement. If anything, it adds more weightage to the portable side of things. In addition, the Surface Pro 3 tablet has a thickness of 9.1 millimeters and has a weight of 1.76 pounds. So far, no laptop has been able to be compressed to that thickness or become as light as that so when companies start manufacturing laptops similar to the thickness and weight of the Surface Pro 3, then we will have a worthy clash of adversaries to talk about. For now, the Surface Pro 3 wins by a substantial margin.

If there was one negative aspect of the Surface Pro 3, it would have to be the screen resolution. Most consumers would be puzzled by the aforementioned statement, seeing as how the Surface Pro 3 tablet has a maximum display resolution of 2160 x 1440 pixels. For some, that resolution turns icons, folders and documents in to sources of ‘eye candy’ but the reality is that such a high resolution will immediately start stressing the processor to such a level that the battery life would deplete at a faster rate. Since rendering a higher resolution will give the processor a strenuous workout, it will have an adverse effect on the battery too. Microsoft; we know that you are a multi-billion dollar company, but seeing as how it’s because of the consumers that you are profiting and not the other way round, we are confident that you are open to suggestions on what your next Surface Pro tablet should be like.

Suggestion 1: Tone down the resolution please. For some, even a 1080p resolution will suffice.

3. The Surface Pro 3 runs the Windows operating system

Say what you will about the Windows operating system, but the desktop and laptop versions happen to possess a substantially large percentage of the market share. The bits and crumbs that the operating system did not care to pick have been occupied by Apple’s MAC OS and X operating systems. There are added benefits of using the Windows operating system. All Surface Pro 3 tablets will come pre-loaded with Windows 8.1 and that only means, you will have access to Microsoft’s Office Suite software, something that none of the rivalling mobile operating systems possess. If you are looking for a mobile workstation, then the Surface Pro 3 tablet is just the device for you.

4. Other features

The goodies don’t end here. Given below are additional features that come assimilated with the tablet.

  • Full-size USB 3.0
  • microSD card reader
  • Headphone jack
  • Mini DisplayPort
  • Cover port
  • Two 5 MP HD cameras, front and rear-facing
  • Stereo microphones
  • Stereo speakers with Dolby sound
  • 802.11 ac
  • Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy technology
  • 9 hours of battery Windows (under normal usage)

Perhaps the biggest relief to us is the existence of a full flesh USB 3.0 port on the tablet. After viewing tons on tablets possessing a micro USB port (micro USB also possess capabilities to attach expandable storage but on some devices, you will be required to root your device and/or install 3rd party applications), our prayers have finally been answered. Another suggestion that we want to give to Microsoft is that if their intentions is to provide users with a laptop replacement; it should do that by providing the detachable keyboard bundled with the tablet instead of having the consumer spend an additional $119.99 on that accessory. As if the tablet itself was not expensive enough.

Final words

Apart from a few hiccups (which includes the over detailed resolution and having to purchase expensive accessories) the Surface Pro 3 is in fact your one stop to a laptop replacement, unless of course another company releases a better product. Nonetheless, there is considerable room for improvement, which we are sure that Microsoft plans to implement these in the next Surface Pro tablet. Even though you can immerse yourself in the same gaming titles that you play on your desktop and laptop computers, just don’t expect to receive the same level of performance. The low clock speed and the inclusion of Intel’s HD Graphics do not make a powerful combo to play current generation PC games. For everything else however, the Surface Pro 3 is a conqueror.

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